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Brief Reports

Nick Clegg has urged the Liberal Democrats to show "courage and vision" by not sacking him. The call comes after his apology for failing to fulfil his pre-election promise to fight any increase in university tuition fees. Mr Clegg also said there could be "no question" of further lowering the top income tax rate of 45%, which will come into force next April, "and you can take my word for it". A spokesman for the CBI, the bosses’ union, reported that his members were ‘jubilant’ at the news, and many were already splashing out on extra yachts in anticipation of the further tax cuts.

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Ministers need to choose their special advisers carefully or they may end up in situations worthy of the BBC satire The Thick of It, MPs have said. The TV series, which is basically Yes Minister! with swearing, highlights the role of dodgy special advisors or Spads, temporary government employees who are not bound by the same rules of impartiality as civil servants and who may be following their own agenda. Recent scandals have shown spads to be deceitful, venal, corrupt and incompetent. Labour leader Ed Miliband and Prime Minister David Cameron are both former special advisers.

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In the wake of the Lance Armstrong drug scandal, the company Peddle-It.com has launched a new performance enhancer called Placebonite, which it says is guaranteed to be a top seller: ‘The industry dilemma is that none of the legal products work, while all the ones that do work are illegal. In fact, for a product to work would necessarily make it illegal. You can’t stop athletes pumping themselves with something, so we’re giving them the perfect product. It’s legal, and they think it works, so it does!’ Economics analysts are studying sales, with a view to applying the rationale to other areas, like economics.

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Unemployment fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million between June and August, official figures show, as more people died, left the country or went off benefit to become burglars. “It’s proof that the government’s policy is working’, said a spokesman for the DWP, “People would rather turn to crime than endure the abuse we dish out in the Work Programme.’ The figures follow the announcement of a new government scheme to employ disabled people as motorway bollards.

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The "worst may still be ahead" for the banking system, the Bank of England's deputy governor has told a gathering of leading bankers. Paul Tucker said reserves held by banks were still not calibrated for the "end-of-the-world risks" that remained a possibility: ‘If you’re buying that yacht, now might be a good moment to fit it out for a long sea voyage. There are lots of islands going cheap in the Caribbean.’